Paralympian Margaret “Gigi” McIntosh, now 65, had been competing at the Concours Complet International level since the 1980s, when she brought a new horse to the 1999 Morven Park Spring Horse Trials in Leesburg, Va. The fall that changed the course of her life happened when her horse got its hind legs tangled on a cross-country fence and she fell chin-first, breaking her sixth vertebra and resulting in quadriplegia.
Some riders would have retired, but after six weeks of rehab and several more years of riding just the right horses, she not only adjusted her expectations but also excelled.
Competing on the world stage, McIntosh always had to set another goal and prepare for the next event. She admits she was, at first, ill-equipped to embrace her paralysis as part of her riding.
“I had ridden almost every day of my life before my accident,” she said. “Still, I never imagined that I would not, somehow, get back on a horse.
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